Stephen F. Austin State University

Graduate Program

The master's program is designed to augment the credentials of those persons who were near the top of the waiting list for admission to doctoral programs, but ultimately did not receive an offer. The 1-year curriculum will increase individuals' chances of being accepted upon reapplication to doctoral programs by enabling them to earn grades in graduate-level courses, and to gain valuable research and teaching experience. Those who choose to remain for the second, optional year of study can earn a terminal master's degree with a thesis. They may also have the opportunity to gain experience teaching introductory level courses under the supervision of one of our faculty members.

Our degree plan may also be of interest to individuals who would like to earn a master's degree in psychology as a means of achieving their professional goals, such as acquiring solid research skills. We envision our curriculum being of considerable value to individuals currently in the workforce, who have had some coursework in psychology (although not necessarily a psychology major) and would now like to enhance their professional skills and advancement potential. Thus, the program can meet the needs of both those already pursuing careers and those attempting to gain admission to a doctoral program in psychology.

Application deadline for fall admission is July 15th. See Application Checklist for materials to be submitted.

The following is the curriculum:


Course # (hrs) - Course Title
PSY 501 (4) - Design & Analysis I
PSY 507 (4) - Design & Analysis II
PSY 517 (4) - Ethics & Research in Psychology
PSY 523 (4) - Advanced General Psychology
PSY 550 (3) - Seminar in Psychology (9-12 hrs total)
PSY 585 (4) - Graduate Research Seminar (4-8 hrs total)
PSY 525 (4) - Teaching Seminar
Total: 36-37 hrs


PSY 589 - Thesis Research
PSY 590 - Thesis Writing
Optional teaching experience
TOTAL: 42-43 hrs.

Given the preceding framework, the following annual course offerings are typically implemented:

PSY 501 (4)
PSY 517 (4)
PSY 550 (3)
PSY 585 (4)

PSY 507 (4)
PSY 523 (4)
PSY 525 (4)
PSY 585 (4)

PSY 550 (3)
PSY 550 (3)

PSY 550 (3)

In this sequence of courses, students may opt either for a light Fall course load (3 courses: 501, 517, and either 550 or 585) or a light Spring course load (507, 523, and either 525 or 585 depending on courses taken in the fall), with the expectation that both summer sessions will be necessary. Those who choose to take full loads in both fall and spring semesters can complete the program in the first summer session.

If you have any questions about any aspect of our program, please feel free to contact Dr. Jeremy Heider, Graduate Program Coordinator, at

For more information, see the following:

Graduate Admissions: Admission requirements and forms required
FAAQ: Frequently Asked and Answered Questions
Candidacy: Requirement to be admitted to departmental degree candidacy
Available Courses: Course offerings and descriptions
Directory of Graduates: Alumni who received MA in psychology from SFASU
SFA Graduate Bulletin: Description of the various departments at SFASU

1-Yr. Degree Plan

Course # (hrs) - Course Title and Description

PSY 501 (4) - Psychological Statistics

Hypothesis testing using one, two, and n sample parametric techniques; individual and combined comparison among means; and data processing in the solution of multivariate problems. Semesters offered: Fall only. Prerequisite: PSY 330 (Psychological Statistics) or Math 520 (Statistics), or their equivalent. Lab fee: $20

PSY 507 (4) - Experimental Design

Examination of pitfalls in experimental design, including ways to correct inappropriate hypotheses, experimenter bias, and faulty inferences. Critical look at the test of significance and at proper and improper applications of analyses of variance.Semesters offered: Spring only Prerequisites: PSY 341 (Experimental Psychology) or its equivalent, plus 9 hours of psychology. Lab fee: $20
PSY 517 (4) - Ethics & Research in Psychology

Standards, legal issues, and ethical responsibilities pertinent to the psychologist in academic, private and government agency, and laboratory settings.Semesters offered: Fall only. Prerequisite: 9 hours of psychology.
PSY 523 (4) - Advanced General Psychology

Theory and research related to Social Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Learning, and Perception. Other content areas also examined.Semesters offered: Spring only. Prerequisites: Admission to graduate training or consent of instructor.
PSY 550* (3) - Graduate Seminar (9-12 hrs. total)

Current topics in psychology. Topics and credit hours announced at each registration period, providing more in-depth coverage of a specific content area in psychology. May be repeated for a total of up to 12 hours credit when topics are different. Semesters offered: Fall and Summer. Prerequisites: Admission to graduate training or consent of instructor.
PSY 585 (4) - Graduate Research Seminar (4-8 hrs. total)

Students directed in development and conduct of a research project. Group discussion and feedback. May be repeated for credit one time.Prerequisites: Admission to graduate training or consent of instructor.

PSY 525 (4) - Teaching Seminar

Issues include ethics, syllabus, and exam construction, classroom management, and theories of collegiate teaching. Discussion and experience in use of various forms of technology in the classroom, and distance education. Students present a lecture applying issues and using tools of information technology.Semesters offered: Spring only. Prerequisites: Clear admission to the Psychology M.A. degree program or consent of instructor.

TOTAL: 36-37 hrs.

*The following courses are possible topics which may be covered: Personality, Learning, Biopsychology, Developmental Psychology, Perception, Cognitive Psychology, Personnel Psychology, Introduction to Psychotherapy, Child and Family Psychotherapy, Organizational Psychology, Groups at Work, Psychopathology, Positive Psychology, and Human Assessment.